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3 reasons why Rishabh Pant shouldn't replace Shreyas Iyer as DC captain in IPL 2021

Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer have been part of the team for around 5 years
Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer have been part of the team for around 5 years
Sai Krishna
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 26 Mar 2021
Feature

Delhi Capitals (DC) captain Shreyas Iyer partially dislocated his shoulder while fielding in India's 66-run win over England in the 1st ODI on March 23.

While initial reports suggested that he might miss 6-8 weeks of cricketing action, the injury may be more serious than imagined. Iyer might even be ruled out for 3-4 months, putting his participation in the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the 2021 T20 World Cup in jeopardy.

It is certain that Iyer will miss at least the first half of the IPL 2021 season, and DC need to appoint a capable leader in his absence. It will be tough to replace a man who has turned the fortunes of the team around and led them to the final of the IPL for the first time in their history, but DC have many players to choose from.

Rishabh Pant, who was the team's vice-captain last year, is the frontrunner for the role. Having been part of the franchise since 2016, he has a keen understanding of strategies and principles. The 23-year-old also adds an exciting youthful dimension to captaincy, just like Iyer.

Although Pant might prove himself to be more than capable of leading DC, we attempt to name 3 reasons why he shouldn't be burdened with a role at the helm of the side.


#3 Captaincy might impede Rishabh Pant's fearless approach to batting

Rishabh Pant might not be able to play his wide range of unorthodox shots
Rishabh Pant might not be able to play his wide range of unorthodox shots

Rishabh Pant has always been a fearless cricketer, and his free strokeplay might be inhibited by the weight of a leadership role. After all, in the absence of Iyer, he'll be the key man in the middle order for DC, and can't afford to throw his wicket away by playing unorthodox shots.

Granted, that is the way Pant plays, and a "C" next to his name on the teamsheet might not change that. But will he be as eager to play a reverse scoop or a switch hit when he knows that his teammates depend on him more than ever?

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Pant is a free-spirited cricketer, but even he has experienced the same pitfalls before. DC suffered multiple top-order failures in IPL 2020 and Pant, who was batting at No. 4 or No. 5, often had to steady the ship. The results were there for all to see - his strike rate fell to 113.95, far less than this previous three IPL campaigns (162.66, 173.6 and 165.61).

Rahane and Dhawan aren't batsmen who get going from the outset, and Pant can't afford to sacrifice his attacking nature.


#2 DC have a number of capable alternatives

Ajinkya Rahane is among the contenders to replace Shreyas Iyer in the DC playing XI
Ajinkya Rahane is among the contenders to replace Shreyas Iyer in the DC playing XI

Had DC not had a number of capable alternatives, the decision to appoint Pant will be understandable. But in Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan and Ravichandran Ashwin, the 2020 IPL finalists have three senior players who've led IPL teams before.

Rahane has captained the Rising Pune Supergiant and the Rajasthan Royals, while Dhawan and Ashwin have been at the helm of the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Punjab Kings respectively. Blessed with experience and match-sharpness, any of the three players could prove themselves more than capable of leading DC.

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While there are some doubts surrounding Rahane's place in the DC XI, he might be the man to replace Iyer. If the latter does miss the entirety of IPL 2021, Rahane can easily be appointed as the skipper.

DC have some left-field choices as well.

Steve Smith would be a shoo-in had he been captaining the Australia limited-overs side and been a guaranteed fixture in the DC playing XI, but as of now he has only an outside chance. Prithvi Shaw led Mumbai to the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy crown and India to the 2018 U-19 World Cup title, but his performances last year didn't exactly inspire confidence.


#1 Rishabh Pant might have too much on his plate

Rishabh Pant is DC
Rishabh Pant is DC's first-choice keeper

Over the rich history of cricket, very few players have managed to keep wickets, play a key role with the bat, and lead the team all at the same time.

Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni is probably the most prominent name that springs to mind, and Pant arguably doesn't have the former India captain's thick skin and calm demeanour.

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If Pant is appointed the DC skipper, he may have too much on his plate, especially with Iyer no longer part of the batting lineup. DC's only other wicket-keeping options are Sam Billings and Vishnu Vinod, both of whom aren't expected to be part of the playing XI.

You can now get the latest IPL 2021 timetable here.

With the T20 World Cup coming up and Pant being a staple of the Indian team across all three formats, it may be wise for him to just focus on his batting and keeping in IPL 2021. He has already played almost every game in the recent series against England and Australia, and burning him out will be a massive shame.


Published 25 Mar 2021, 18:10 IST
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